Top 5 Season in My Book!
Nathan B. Blake | Kirkland, IL USA | 03/18/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If I were to rank seasons of ER, this (and season 15, the final season) would make the top five, along with three of the earlier seasons. Season 13 is major
improvement over season 12, partly because the writers stop forcing us to
sit through Africa episodes.
While I think this is one of the best seasons, there is one flaw I'd like to
mention early in the review, and that has to do with ER taking (bad) cues
from what became it's Thursday night hospital drama competition starting with
this season: Grey's Anatomy. During season 13, I got the feeling that the creative forces behind ER were trying to win over Grey's Anatomy fans
by increasing the amount of sex scenes and "cute" relationship storylines/moments.
ER always had it's relationship stories and sex scenes, and that was fine,
but for a brief period in the season, they piled it on too thick. The prime example is Neela's sex dream about Gates in episode 6 or 7. Fortunately, they backed away from that tactic quickly (although this type of scene made another appearance
late in season 14).
Now that I have that out of the way, I can mention what makes this an outstanding
season of ER. (CONTAINS SPOILERS) First and foremost, Dr. Weaver departs for
a (Dr. Sanjay Gupta) type job at a TV station in Florida. She is missed, but her
final two episodes (as a regular) are well written and, of course, her acting is
top notch. Another highlight is Forest Whitaker's emmy nominated role as Curtis
Ames, a former patient of Dr. Kovac who sues him for malpractice. Sally Field makes her final appearance, Abby and Kovac are married, Dr. Morris matures (a little),
the hospital is closed for renovation and Stanley Tucci makes the first two appearances of a story arc that continues until the end of season 14.
In between these storylines, there are many other shorter patient storylines,
many of which are excellent and fresh, unlike some of the repetitive storylines
tossed around in seasons 11 and 12.
On one final note, this is the season when ER became the most emmy nominated
TV series of all time, with a total of 120 nominations (by the time the series
ended in 2009, the show had been nominated for 124 emmys).
Another GREAT season of ER!
Robin Saunders | 06/03/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here's another great year of ER!! I can't wait for the release! ER will be missed!!! :'(
I do have a problem with the recent seasons though: where are the gag reels???????? The bloopers are one of the favorite things I love about the show, but they haven't been included on seasons 11, 12, and now, 13!! There IS a gag reel for season 13, because I've seen it!!!!!!!!! I miss the bloopers!!
One more thing. I don't see why so many people hate the Africa episodes so much. They take us along with Luka, Carter, and Pratt, to a hugely neglected part of the world and show us what needs to be done in those countries. These episodes gave me a reason to live, when I was terribly depressed, and I intend on making a difference in central Africa one day---thanks to ER."
ER Seson 13
Steven T. Alei | Sacramento, CA | 06/18/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I agree, I dont know why people seem to be so down on the Africa episodes, those were some of my favorite episodes. It gets boring just having all the stuff take place in the ER. This gave the show a new and thrilling element as far as I'm concerned."
Still coasting from the last 3 seasons - but there's a glint
Alexander M. Walker | Chicago, IL USA | 07/20/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"After 12 years of being on the air and with 267 episodes in the bag, ER reached its 13th season and an official milestone in terms of its cast: the final vestiges of the original major players from the first seasons were gone. When ER began back in 1994, Anthony Edwards served as the undeniable protagonist with an incredibly strong supporting cast (George Clooney - hard to beat that). The writing was terrific and only seemed to get better with each passing episode and season. By the time Edwards passed on the baton to Noah Wyle, who had the chops to lead but was nowhere near as charismatic and endearing as Edwards, the show took a slight dive in quality. However, the supporting cast was quickly shored up to re-elevate the show and keep it at roughly the same level, allowing ER fans to finally transfer their love for Dr. Greene to Dr. Carter. And the show carried on, but eventually even Wyle decided he needed to step away and during Carter's adventures in Africa, the spotlight officially fell even further to supporting characters with Eriq La Salle now being the strongest of the leads (though personally I think he was better than Wyle, but that isn't important). What matters is that as the baton passed from one lead to the next the show became increasingly about the ensemble and less about the particular struggles of any one doctor.
When ER introduced Dr. Luka Kovac (Goran Visnjic) into the cast in the sixth season, it wasn't obvious that he was being prepped to inherit the spotlight for three seasons down the road, but that's what happened. The legitimacy of Kovac's leading man inheritance was given a boost by a small arc with Noah Wyle wherein he officially hands off the baton, and the show transitions fully to being about Kovac's love life and also those of the other doctors. He was the clear lead, but it required a little bit of finagling to get audiences to accept him. It wasn't so much an issue of not being a strong enough actor, it was more an issue of ER being an ensemble show by that point and there being no character as equally fleshed out as the one they were dismissing (Carter). However, what might be even more important is whether or not the audience had the stomach to transfer their loyalty to yet another leading man.
This represents the ultimate struggle of any show that stretches on longer than the norm. No longer was ER a show that focused heavily on one doctor's journey through life and the side stories of those who toil around him, it was officially an anthology of stories stretched over 22-episode seasons with no single character really standing above the rest. The writing and stories were still stronger than many of the shows it competed with, but the most vital element of what the show used to be had vanished: the ability to cultivate the audience's emotional investment in the lead character.
You can't blame the audience, 12 seasons of television is a long time to hold on, and when characters cease to be fleshed out naturally and receive desperate storylines like a kidnapping or yet another tortured pregnancy, it's hard to sustain the interest. This issue didn't start in season 13, or in season 12. It really started back around season 8 when the writers began creating an exit strategy for Carter but failed to prep his successor. When season 13 finally rolled around, most of the original characters from the first seasons have exited save for a few, but the ones that do remain used this season as their curtain call (Laura Innes as Dr. Kerry Weaver) or were never fully realized characters to begin with (receptionist Jerry Markovic played by Abraham Benrubi).
Ultimately, season 13 sees no dip in the quality (from season 12) of the stories or writing - which is damned impressive, however that hasn't been the issue for the last 3 seasons. No matter how good the stories and writing for season 13 were, what drags it down is the lack of focus on a central character. Season 12 shared this same issue, but it became even more pronounced here as the writers attempted to phase in John Stamos as a regular player. What little momentum Kovac had built up as the head doctor is quickly sapped away as Dr. Tony Gates (Stamos) is clearly intended as his replacement.
If you followed ER all the way to season 13 without fail, then these problems and more are certainly apparent to you, however you may be more willing to forgive the show if you were able to transition from loving ER as a strong character-driven show to an ensemble show. You can't argue with an ensemble cast of Linda Cardellini, Shane West, Scott Grimes, Maura Tierney, Mekhi Phifer, and Parminder Nagra - but the characters either have no depth or have become somewhat ridiculous. When Dr. Romano was killed off in the 10th season, Weaver was left as the sole representation of ER's penchant for strong supporting characters. With her departure, so goes the waning interest ER had sustained to this point.
DVD Bonus Features
Like the past season releases, all you'll find here are deleted scenes. A little something extra would have gone a long way towards making this set more appealing considering the season's lower ambitions."